Wednesday, 10 January 2018

"But they won't listen to me!!!"

On entering the house last Friday I was hijacked by my daughter. What happened next I was not expecting but it was an interesting experience for both of us.

She explained that she has been asked by the teachers to be the manager of a cafe to raise money for charity. She has a small team and they need to organise the event and make sure everything runs smoothly. She is 10 so the rest of this makes sense :)

So my daughter comes up with a plan, tells the team what they will do and.... well, you can imagine what happens next. One of them ends up storming off to the bathroom, 2 of them rip up the plan and come up with their own one and the rest slope off to do something else. I think we've all been here, right?

OK a double serving of coaching coming right up.... let's establish the goal.

"I want them to do what I tell them to"

Wow. OK. Healthly dose of reality required. So sweetheart, how do you feel when you are told what to do? She ponders for a bit and comes back with something else.

"I want to do something that will help us bond so we can work together"

OK, nice. Still not sure this is the goal but we are thinking differently. So, if I could wave a magic wand and fix this for you what would it look like? How would people behave?

"People would listen to me and we would come up with a plan that we would all agree on"

Damn it! So close. Oh well. I know her plan is confetti but it sounds like there is 'a' plan - what is wrong with the plan the others came up with? What won't work about it?

* rant * rant * rant *

Synopsis: takes too long to serve people and everyone needs to queue which they won't do

So it takes too long to serve each person. What kind of too long to wait is too long?

"It will take 5 minutes to serve each person"

Wow. That is very exact. How do you know it will take 5 minutes?

"That's how long it will take"

Could we test this? If I asked you to sit still and tell me when 5 minutes has passed, how close do you think you would be? For the record, my daughter has never sat in the same place for 5 minutes. Ever. So I feel this is pretty good bet.

So we test our assumption - I set a timer and she sits on a chair. After about 2 minutes I notice that she seems to be counting under her breath so I start saying random numbers since I figure she is counting so she knows how long is passed. I seem to have underestimated the sneakyness (but am secretly impressed).

After about 3 minutes I ask her how long has passed and she says about 3 minutes (!) but acknowledges that it is a really long time so I deem the experiment a partial success and we move on.

How long do you really think it will take to serve each customer? What could do to find out? The shrugs are less than encouraging so I ask what she would like from MY cafe....

We act out serving a drink and a cake in the kitchen and both agree it probably wont take very long at all to serve people. We talk a little about assumptions and how we can usually test them rather than accept them as truth which mostly gets ignored.

So what's wrong with letting the others go through their plan? Could you act it out like we just did? Would that be better than trying to come up with a plan that you all had to follow? After all if something didn't quite work you could always change what you are doing.... it's also a lot more fun.

"Yeah, that might work. I still want to do something that will help us bond"

OK. I'm tired. We go through "String of Pearls" and she assumes the roles of all members of her team. Again secretly impressed she can remember each persons role and moves into each of their imaginary positions as she says them.

Since everyone can say what ever they want, how come we end up with a story?

"We listen to each other and know it all needs to join up to make sense in the end"

Wise words indeed.

So the next day, what happens? My daughter goes and finds the teacher who organises the McMillan tea morning and asks her to help her team. Just like what Mrs A said before I got home last Friday.

I think I will leave this to Mrs A in the future, we all know she's always right :)

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